Thoughts After Two Months

I've been on the road for two months today. Here are a few of my thoughts to date.

At the one month mark I wrote my thoughts on meeting startups. I still agree with what I wrote in that post. This post is a little different - more ad hoc topics in each section. Some of these topics I've been thinking about for awhile. Others I've just realized in the past day.

Home Run Skepticism

Mainstream media primarily covers "home run hit" startups such as Facebook, Google, and Tesla. The media focus on the home runs obscures that there are a huge number of self-funded companies creating value for their customers.

Companies that are not venture capital backed can be less risky because they are not trying to generate outsized returns for their investors. To keep with the baseball analogy, a bunch of singles and doubles are great. It's important to not take venture capital if you want to build a company that provides you and your employees with good incomes and sustainable lifestyles.

Here are a dozen examples of such companies:

  1. Bidsketch
  2. HitTail
  3. Barefoot Solutions
  4. ConvertKit
  5. Audit Shark
  6. 37Signals
  7. Smart Bear
  8. Appointment Reminder
  9. CrazyEgg
  10. mGroomer
  11. WooThemes
  12. QuickReader

DC Won't Be A Startup Hub, But...

I don't think DC is a good place to build a startup. I am using Paul Graham's definition of startup as "a company design to grow fast". But it is a hotbed of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs in DC start consulting companies. There's low overhead when your consultants on on-site, hiring is driven by clients' willingness to bring another person on-board, and it's a tried and true model that DC people understand.

When you create a startup you need to fight against the high salaries that consulting firms offer, the lack of decent, cheap space downtown, and the fact that people interested in startups move away from DC to places like San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin.

I'll need to elaborate futher on this topic later.

Our Education System is Fucked Up

This isn't an original idea. It's amazing to me how our education system prepares us for the 20th century. We're churning out students like we churn out widgets in a factory.

Yet the jobs in the 21st century requiring creativity and skills such as software development. We don't teach that. Instead we have a glorified prison system where students are held hostage for the formative years of their lives. And we have a massive bureaucratic system preventing any sort of positive change. We're all to blame for this incredible failing in our society. It's sad. We're failing the next generation even though everyone wants to talk endless how much we supposedly care about our children.